The New England Chapter of the American Medical Writers Association recently hosted a webinar entitled “Medical Writing During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” I was the moderator of this online event. After this event, some people asked me how I would answer some of the questions that I asked the panelists. I am writing this blog post to tell you.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your workload and field of medical writing?
My workload initially increased during the pandemic. Many meetings went virtual and writing posters also included a need for scripts to accompany the posters. I have also been writing abstracts for virtual meetings. Regarding scientific publications, many people and companies decided to catch up on writing manuscripts and I was approached with many publication projects. However, more recently, there have been delays in new and current publications. This is especially true for publications involving data from clinical trials, which are currently delayed due to the pandemic.
How has the pandemic affected your interactions with colleagues and clients?
All interactions have become remote—mostly on zoom. On the positive side, this has saved me many hours a week of travel and visits to clients. The remaining clients are contacted remotely. However, to keep up with colleagues I need to take the initiative and reach out to them to make the time to get together on zoom, by phone, for a walk, a distanced talk or whatever anyone feels comfortable with.
What advice would you give to those working from home for the first time?
Make a list of what you want to or need to do each day. Then, go into your office, close the door, and work. If you need quiet, put ear buds in with music or find something that works for you. Having an office in a place with a door that you can close is helpful.
I know this may be easier said than done, and I understand. When I first started working from home, I cleaned my house before working. Needless to say, some days I didn’t do much work. Over the years, I have learned to shut everything out and just do the work I need to do each day. Be patient with yourself, this is a huge lifestyle change that may take a while to get accustomed to.
What potential opportunities have you noticed as a result of the pandemic?
There are a lot of opportunities to teach and write about science and the virus. New opportunities are working on virtual congresses—abstracts, posters, and scripts to accompany posters. Look for creative ways to help clients do projects that have been “waiting”.
What advice would you give to those who are interested in breaking into medical writing during this period?
Be persistent and creative. Network and talk to lots of people to figure out how you can adapt your skills to the projects available at this time. Use your AMWA network and get to know your colleagues!
I am interested to hear your thoughts and ideas on this topic. Please share your ideas below.
To view the webinar click here.